Occasionally, I even get time to read…

Apparently, the author of this short novel, Susan Hill, has recently begun a relationship with another woman, having been married. The subject matter of From The Heart, then, might in some way be pressing for her as a result of her own circumstances. It tells the story of Olive, a young girl in the 1950s (I think), who experiences a kind of awakening in a repressive, intolerant era. Many things happen in a few years for Olive, but she is well drawn and likeable, and the ending is particularly good! Oddly, though, for a novel about awakening sexuality, there is very little actual sex, as though the repression of the era has somehow exerted itself upon Hill’s writing. In fact, she is rather coy about sex altogether, and this surprised me, as the rest of her writing is so acutely observant and true to life. The book itself is rather lovely – a neat, small hardback with a cover rather like the gorgeous Persephone Press novels, based on a 1950s fabric print by designer Ruth Adler Schnee. If you enjoyed Patricia Highsmith’s Carol, then this is broadly similar, though quieter, I feel. 

Any excuse for a new notebook…

As my gardening post made clear, there’s nothing like a new notebook! And this will be an interesting one. A psychologist friend was extolling the benefits of a gratitude journal to me the other day: though it sounds a bit new-aged, the friend is a sarky cynic like me, so I tend to take her ideas seriously and thought I’d give this a go. You can read about a journalist’s exploration of the gratitude journal phenomenon here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11706352/Gratitude-the-latest-self-help-trend-that-could-change-your-life.html

The idea is that, at the end of each day, you simply write down three things that you’re thankful for. I’m not promising to do this every day, or to blog about it much, even (other people’s gratitude sounds so smug! The world is in political turmoil!), but I am interested to see if I experience greater contentment and better sleep (both are promised by gratitude advocates). So, we shall see 🙂 

To start me off, I am grateful for this simple, lovely near view:

2: I had a lovely coffee with a friend yesterday. We don’t meet often, but we have lots of interests in common and I always feel cheery and invigorated when I’ve seen her. Her blog is here: https://liveworkcoaching.wordpress.com

3: the sun is out! 

Norfolk: sun, sand and strawberries

This was taken a week ago, on a weekend trip to the North Norfolk coast. The view in the distance is of Castle Acre, near Swaffham. The castle is now a ring of stone walls on a small hill, but the priory (an English Heritage site) is fantastic: visitors can go upstairs and look over the fields and to the castle, enjoying a view that can’t have changed much over hundreds of years. 

On the way to the coast, I stopped at the Sharrington strawberry stall (on the road from Fakenham to Holt; the A148). I have bought these local strawberries before at other shops, but never stopped at the stall. My arms full of strawberries and the toddler, I didn’t get to take a picture, but the strawberries were FANTASTIC. Oh, and we bought some jam, too, and there were lots of vegetables for sale too, which I didn’t expect as you can’t see them from the road!

Best of all, Cromer beach looked like this:


We had a great break, just doing the old-school things: eating strawberries and ice-cream, digging in the sand and looking for crabs. It seems strange to be writing about this, given the events we’ve had in Manchester and London, but it is perhaps good to remember that life involves these things, still, too. 

There’s nothing like new stationery…

This is what happens after too many trawls of Pinterest: gardening becomes a delicious set of purchases of books, notebooks and pens, rather than an actual trip into the garden. Still, our roses have thrived on neglect; my partner was given these tea glasses used as vases at a wedding this weekend so they’re perfect for our flowers:


And we have been cooking! These Danish pastries tasted fab and were very, very easy to make from a recipe in the Tesco magazine, which you can find here: https://issuu.com/tesco_magazine/docs/2017_tesco_march_issue_complete_hr_/77


But just in case this is in danger of becoming one of those smug country life posts, I have also dealt with a huge hornet, two whopping sp*ders and two dead, mangled baby rabbits this week! Unsurprisingly, no pictures of those! Hope everyone’s enjoying their Bank Holiday weekend xx

Practically a small-holding :)

Yesterday evening, I was just looking at my solitary courgette plant and wondering what has happened to it (frost; wilt; slugs), when our lovely neighbour came round. She brought us eggs from her hens and this super basket of loveliness:


She knows I have been wrestling with the abandoned veg patch, and can probably see me trying to dig in flip flops of an evening, as slowly but surely the weeds are coming out! And this basket is a great incentive: gorgeous herbs (including Garlic chives – who knew there are garlic chives!?) and strawberry plants. Now, just a bit more clearing to be done….

Let’s hope I have green fingers…

Well, in the corner of our garden, we have an old, neglected vegetable patch. Of course, I imagine myself turning into Hugh F-W, making amazing food from my own produce, so I started to clear the patch. It looks like this:

I think that’s an ancient raspberry cane, so I am trying to nurture that. I’m sure we’ll be feasting on fresh, sun warmed raspberries all summer 😉 There’s also a plant which I think is chard – does anyone else know? I don’t want any upsetting mistakes!

Weeding was very satisfying.  I took a leaf (ahem) out of Alys Fowler’s book and just settled to it, and the end result was great. I only managed about two square feet of bare soil while the Little One was at nursery, but it was worth it. Alys’ advice is here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/29/how-to-win-the-war-on-weeds

Our local WI had a plant sale at which I picked up some strawberry plants, a courgette and some herbs, so we are well on our way!

Yes, it’s about time…

Phew – I’ve got my blogging mojo back. Somehow my old Blogger template had grown to feel really tired and old, and I was looking in envy at pretty much everyone else’s blog! So I’ve managed to move my blog here to WordPress and already it looks fresher, so I’m pleased!

We have also moved to the country while my blog has been on pause. Expect more pictures of open fields and huge skies! Part of our new garden looks like this:


But part looks like this, which is, I think, a raspberry cane in a sea of weeds:

Clearly, I need to work out how to resize photos, but that’s a job for another day. I’m looking forward to many more post, and if you’ve read this, thank you,

Someone else has knitted an allotment!

I just love my LYS. The ladies who work there are often knitting the most amazing things while they staff the till, and this window is just fab. It’s an allotment, with the caption “Knit Your Own”, above a display of a carrots, beetroot, sweetpeas (my favourites), and more! I love walking past this shop with my toddler as there’s always something more to see in the display. Well done, ladies!

 

 

One Finished Object! The cotton toddler dress

Oooh, I’m so pleased with myself! Finally, a finished object to share. I’ve been taking this to my local Crafternoon for what seems like ages. In fact, last time, although I was at the sewing up stage, the ladies looked rather surprised to see that it was still going!

I can’t seem to remove the first picture, so you get two of it in all its glory! Greens and blues don’t photograph terribly well, so the colours are greener in real life. I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. More on my Ravelry page about (veery minor) changes I made to the original pattern. I think this will be great for my daughter, over leggings or on its own while the weather is nice. Now, what to knit next??

 

One nearly-knitted toddler tunic – oh, and a knitted garden

So, the Sirdar knitted tunic is SO nearly done! This is despite me sewing the sleeves on to the wrong sides … Still, despite me changing needles to a smaller size, it’s still huge for my daughter, so there’s no hurry. I’m really looking forward to seeing her in it. Though it certainly isn’t cheap to knit, I am loving the Sirdar DK cotton so it’s been very enjoyable to work on. In fact, variegated yarns must be en vogue at the moment, as several of my knitting group are working with similar yarns. In contrast to some, the colours in this cotton have worked out spread quite evenly through the knitting, giving it an even appearance too. Lovely.

Love, love, loving our local wool shop, too. Here is their knitted allotment!! Vegetables, fruit, sunflowers, bees – it’s ace.